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Saturday 20th Jan 2018

Never was there a game or time where hopes springs more eternal than with the opening of the baseball season. As proof of this, over the last couple of days Cory Luebke (who tossed 139.6 frames for the Padres in 2011, and not much since) earned a spot in the Pirates' bullpen while 32-year old situational lefty Dana Eveland made the cut in Tampa.

If you just finished drafting and are in a deep format, chances are something like the Marco Estrada or Evan Gattis injuries might have stung your squad for a bit, so, who are some guys who made rosters this spring who might be able to fill in with some innings or at-bats. Again, we are talking 20-team mixed leagues or AL/NL only formats, though with some success, these guys might indeed become more valuable even in shallower leagues. But, for now, most should be floating around the free agent pool.

Jesse Hahn (Oakland): OK, this is kind of cheating as Hahn was sent down following a horrendous spring where he had an 11.15 ERA over 15.6 innings but a forearm injury to Felix Doubront opens the door for Hahn to return. The Athletics hurler had some injury woes last year, but the righty did go 6-6, 3.35 with a 1.169 WHIP when he pitched last year and well, I have to think Hahn will work into a groove closer to those totals than his spring ones.

David Freese (Pirates): Two Opening Day hits? Wow. With Jung-Ho Kang injured, the equally brittle Freese has claimed the third base spot at PNC Park. Freese's numbers dropped since 2012, his final year in St. Louis, with the OBP falling from .371 that year, to .341 his first with the Angels to .323 last year. But, with a return to the National League and his best success, and on a deeper team meaning some time off, Freese could make a nice corner contributor.

Scott Schebler (Reds): Schebler is starting out as the left-handed hitting platoon in left field for Cincy. He had a decent enough spring hitting .255-3-12. Schebler, who came to the Reds via the three-team Todd Frazier deal last December, hit .250-3-4 with a pair of swipes for the Dodgers last year and a solid start could mean a starting gig, especially if Jay Bruce is moved.

A.J. Griffin (Texas): The former Athletic was sent down a la Hahn, but similarly was slated to be the #5 starter for the Rangers. Texas is said to be shopping for an arm, and there is Nick Martinez, but Griffin has always been a good WHIP (1.126) guy although he is vulnerable to the long ball, with 46 allowed over 288.6 innings (not necessarily good in Texas). Still, expect Griffin to make his start and with a little success, work the rotation spot, at least for a time on a team that should win some games.

Vincent Velasquez (Phillies): Acquired from the Astros as part of the Ken Giles deal, Velasquez is set to be the #5 starter in Phillies-land with the demotion of Adam Morgan. With the Astros last year, Velasquez whiffed 58 over 55.6 innings, and posted a 1.275 WHIP. After six scoreless innings with eight whiffs his last spring start, the job defaulted to the 23-year old right-hander.

Cody Anderson (Indians): Obviously there is a lot of focus on starting pitching here, but the truth is we all know a team can never have too much. Anderson bagged the fourth starter spot mostly based upon his solid 7-3, 3.05 year over 91.3 innings and 15 starts last year. A big guy--6'4", 240 pounds--who is more control than power (44 whiffs to 24 walks)--Anderson had a solid 1.106 WHIP last year. He is the kind of guy who can get knocked around from time-to-time, but the fundamentals seem to be there.

Rey Fuentes (Royals): Speedy outfielder who made the team thanks to the injury to Jarrod Dyson, Fuentes had a cup of coffee with the Padres in 2013 (.152-0-1 with three steals over 33 at-bats), but at two levels within the Royals system last year, Fuentes hit .310-9-47 with 29 steals and a .364 OBP.

Steven Wright (Boston): The Red Sox are giving Henry Owens a little more time, so Wright, who had a solid 2.77 ERA with 19 whiffs over 26 innings gets the ball every fifth day while Eduardo Rodriguez remains sidelined. Wright is not really any more overpowering than Anderson (52 whiffs over 72 innings last year for Boston) but first month of the season the junk ball guys seem to do well while hitters are getting their timing down.

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